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A “Help Wanted” sign is displayed at the Black Dog Bakery in Tisbury, Mass., as a customer is served on Martha's Vineyard island. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) — Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest in a month as improvements in the economy prompted employers to retain workers.

Jobless claims declined by 15,000 to 330,000 in the period ended Jan. 4, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 335,000. The data can be volatile after the holidays as temporary workers are dismissed, a Labor Department spokesman said as the report was released to the press.

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